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A book review by Steven Wu
April 07, 2002
|Rating: 2 (of 10)|
Wilson certainly explains Darwinia. And his explanation sucks. Hard.
I'm not going to waste too much time saying much more, since the last paragraph basically sums up my frustration with this book. Wilson's writing style and characterization are so-so; it's really the idea of Darwinia, its freakish novelty and its tantalizing mystery, that draws the reader along the fairly exciting narrative. And, for 122 pages, Wilson does an excellent job doling out little bits of information about Darwinia--its flora, its fauna, its bizarre history. I read the first 122 pages in a blur: they were that good.
Then, at page 123, there is an incredibly dumb "interlude" at which point, completely without warning, the entire premise of the book suddenly transforms. After some more adventuring, a clunky expository chapter (Chapter 25) subsequently explains everything you need to know about Darwinia in the lame terms of the page 123 Interlude.
The book also ends with a shootout. As if things couldn't get worse.
Wilson could have done so much with the premise he starts with. But he completely fails. I have never--never--been so bitterly disappointed.
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